Open Letter: 413 civil society call on Timor-Leste to retract invitation to illegal “Myanmar Election Agency”

April 10th, 2023  •  Author:   413 organizations  •  10 minute read
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His Excellency

Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta

President

Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

Open Letter: 413 civil society call on Timor-Leste to retract invitation to illegal “Myanmar Election Agency”

7 April 2023

Dear Mr. President:

The undersigned 413 Myanmar, Timorese, regional and international civil society organizations strongly urge Your Excellency, along with the National Commission for Elections (CNE) President Dr. Jose Agostinho da Costa Belo Pereira, and the Network of Jurisdictional and Electoral Administration Bodies of Portuguese Speaking Countries (ROJAE-CPLP), to retract inviting the representatives of the so-called “Myanmar Election Agency” appointed by the illegal junta to your International Workshop on “Strengthening Democracy, Peace and Stability in State Building”, set to be held on May 19, 2023 in Dili.

These members of the Myanmar Election Agency, representing the brutal junta, have no credibility to talk about the subject of strengthening democracy, peace, and stability in state-building. After its attempted coup in February 2021, without a constitutional basis, the military junta invalidated the results of the democratically held November 2020 General Elections where the National League of Democracy (NLD) won in a massive landslide — a move that disregards the people’s will and runs contrary to the central tenets of democracy. Even then, after more than two years of the coup, the illegal junta controls only 17% of the country’s territory while the majority is controlled under the governance of the legitimate National Unity Government and Ethnic Revolutionary Organizations.

Since then, the illegitimate junta and their administrations have conducted nationwide attacks on civilians, eradicating the foundations of free media, civil society, the political party system, and academic freedom. As of March 2023, the junta and their enablers have killed over 3,000 people, arrested over 21,000 people. At least 1.4 million people have been internally displaced by the military’s violence, and at least 52,200 people forced to leave Myanmar, according to the UN Office of the High Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. We know that you are aware of this grave situation having bravely voiced your own protest against the coup during its early days.

As you wrote in your article published by the Newsweek on December 16, 2021, “the international community has the means to stand up to Myanmar’s military junta. Governments and international bodies should refuse to recognize the Tatmadaw regime or their representatives. They should expel representatives sent by the illegitimate military junta. They should continue to recognize and support diplomats appointed by Myanmar’s democratically elected government, including at the United Nations, thereby ensuring that the legitimate voices of democracy continue to be heard.”

Their actions and the scale of suffering they have created clearly demonstrate strong and consistent disdain to the values of democracy, peace, and stability in nation-building which the international workshop you will host aims to promote and achieve. Given this track record, they will not care about any platitudes on democracy and will return to Myanmar and continue their murderous ways. They even ignored the Five Point Consensus brokered by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the Cambodian Government’s Presidency. Thus, having representatives of the illegitimate junta will not only taint the goodwill which you aim to foster, it will also disregard the suffering of the peoples of Myanmar who are continuously working to resist the military towards the establishment of a federal democracy in their country. But more so, it could stigmatize Timor-Leste whose own robust and shining democracy has been a blazing light in this otherwise blighted region of tyrants and chameleons.

Aside from retracting the invitation for these Myanmar Election Agency representatives, we also respectfully call on the organizers of the International Workshop to instead extend an invitation to the representatives of the National Unity Government (NUG), who have been continuously working to establish federal democracy in Myanmar. As you very well know, the NUG has been active in rallying and engaging the international community to go against repressive actions by the junta. We urge your support, as an esteemed member of the international community and a champion of human rights and democracy, to support efforts to ensure accountability for the victims of the illegal junta and facilitate further humanitarian support for the peoples of Myanmar, especially its most vulnerable pro-democracy sectors.

We sincerely hope you heed our urgent plea.

For more information, please contact:

Signed by 413 organizations including 222 organizations who have chosen to not disclose their names:

  1. 5/ of Zaya State Strike
  2. Action Against Myanmar Military Coup (AAMMC)
  3. Action Committee for Democracy Development (Coalition of 14 grassroots networks)
  4. Action Committee of Basic Education Students (ACBES)
  5. Active Youths Kalaymyo
  6. Ah Nah Podcast – conversations with Myanmar
  7. All Aung Myay Thar San Schools Strike Force
  8. All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF) – Australia Branch
  9. All Young Burmese League (AYBL)
  10. Alliance of Students’ Union – Yangon (ASU-Yangon)
  11. ALTSEAN-Burma
  12. Anti Dictatorship in Burma DC Metropolitan Area
  13. Anti-coup Forces Coordination Committee (ACFCC -Mandalay)
  14. Anti-Junta Alliance Yangon-AJAY
  15. ASEAN Sogie Caucus
  16. Asia Democracy Network (ADN)
  17. Asia Justice and Rights – Timor-Leste (AJAR-Timor Leste)
  18. Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
  19. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  20. Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)
  21. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
  22. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
  23. Association Suisse-Birmanie (ASB)
  24. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
  25. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO)
  26. A-Yar-Taw People Strike
  27. Ayeyarwaddy West Development Organization (AWDO, Magway Region)
  28. AYN Ayeyarwady Youth Network
  29. Blood Money Campaign Myanmar
  30. Boston Free Burma
  31. Burma Action Ireland
  32. Burma Campaign UK
  33. Burma Canadian Network
  34. Burma Lawyer Council (BLC)
  35. Burma Support
  36. Burmese Americans Democracy Alliance
  37. Burmese Canadian Network
  38. Burmese Chin Community of Atlanta
  39. Burmese Community Development Collaboration (BCDC)
  40. Burmese Community Support Group (BCSG)
  41. Burmese Medical Association Australia (BMAA)
  42. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
  43. Burmese Women’s Union
  44. CDM Medical Network (CDMMN)
  45. CDM Support Group (Mae Sot)
  46. Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), Sri Lanka
  47. Chaung Oo Township Youth Strike Committee
  48. Chin Human Rights Organization
  49. Citizen Congress Watch (CCW), Taiwan
  50. Civil Information Network (CIN)
  51. Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH), Malaysia
  52. Coalition Strike Committee – Dawei
  53. Committee for Free and Fair Election (COMFREL), Cambodia
  54. CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland
  55. CRPH Funding Ireland
  56. CRPH Support Group, Norway
  57. CRPH, NUG Support Team Germany – Deutschland
  58. Dawei Youths Revolutionary Movement Strike Committee
  59. Democracy for Ethnic Minorities Organization
  60. Democracy, Peace and Women’s Organization
  61. Depayin Township Revolution Steering Committee
  62. Educational Initiatives Prague
  63. Equality Myanmar
  64. Ethnic Youth General Strike Committee (Mandalay)
  65. Federal FM – Mandalay
  66. Former ABSDF International
  67. Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA)
  68. Free Burma Action Committee – Central Valley
  69. Free Burma Action Committee – Chico
  70. Free Burma Action Committee – Northern California
  71. Free Burma Action Committee – Sacremento
  72. Free Burma Action Committee – San Francisco
  73. Freedom and Labor Action Group (FLAG)
  74. Future Light Center
  75. Future Thanlwin
  76. General Strike Collaboration Committee (GSCC)
  77. General Strike Committee of Basic and Higher Education (GSCBHE)
    1. Basic Education Worker Unions – Steering Committee (BEWU-SC)
    2. Representative Committee of University Teacher Associations (RC of UTAs)
    3. Basic Education General Strike Committee (BEGSC)
  78. Generation Wave
  79. German Solidarity with Myanmar Democracy eV
  80. Gimpo Myanmar Friends Korea
  81. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution
  82. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution (Japan)
  83. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution (Korea)
  84. Grass-root People
  85. Help Myanmar
  86. Helping Hands for Burma (H2B)
  87. Human Rights Educators Network
  88. Industrial Training Centre (ITC) Family Sydney
  89. Info Birmanie
  90. Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
  91. International Association, Myanmar – Switzerland (IAMS)
  92. Justice For Myanmar
  93. Kachin Association Australia (KAA)
  94. Kachin Student Union
  95. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
  96. Kalay Township Strike Force
  97. Karen Association of Ireland
  98. Karen community (The Netherland)
  99. Karen Peace Support Network
  100. Keng Tung Youth
  101. Komite Independen Pemantau Pemilu (KIPP), Indonesia
  102. Kyain Seikgyi Spring Revolution Leading Committee
  103. Kyaukse University Students’ Union
  104. La Communauté BIRMANE de France
  105. Latpadaung Region Strike Committee
  106. Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), Philippines
  107. Let’s Help Each Other
  108. LGBT Alliance
  109. LGBT Union – Mandalay
  110. Monywa LGBT Strike
  111. LGBT Community Yangon
  112. LGBT Alliance Myanmar (Kalay Region)
  113. LGBT Alliance Myanmar (Kyaukse Region)
  114. Magway People’s Revolution Committee
  115. Mandalay Medical Family (MFM)
  116. Mandalay Regional Youth Association (MRYA)
  117. Mandalay Strike Force (MSF)
    1. Samgha Sammaga-Mandalay
    2. Mandalay Alliance Coalition Strike
    3. Mya Taung Strike
    4. Mandalar University Students’ Strike
    5. Chanmyatharzi Township People’s Strike
    6. Maharaungmyay Township People’s Strike
    7. Mandalay Youth Strike
    8. 12 Basic Education Branch High School ( Maharaungmyay) Students’ Union
    9. Co-operative University Mandalay Students’ Strike
    10. Mandalay-based People’s Strike
    11. Multi-Religions Strike
    12. Myanmar Institute of Information Technology Students’ Strike
    13. Daung Sitthe Strike
    14. Seinpann Strike
  118. Mandalay-Based University Students’ Unions (MDY_SUs)
  119. Matu Chin Community – NSW/UPU Chin Association
  120. MayMyo Strike Force
  121. Metta Campaign Mandalay
  122. Minbu Farmer Group
  123. Mindat Chin Community NSW
  124. Minhla Development Organization
  125. Mon National Council (MNC)
  126. Monywa People’s Strike Steering Committee
  127. All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Monywa District)
  128. Network of University Student Unions – Monywa
  129. National League for Democracy (Monywa Township)
  130. The 88 Generation Peace and Open Society (Monywa)
  131. Thakhin Kodaw Mhine Peace Network (Monywa)
  132. Former Political Prisoners and New Generation Group – Monywa
  133. Civil Society Organizations Coordination Committee (Monywa)
  134. Monywa-Amyint Road Strike Leading Committee
  135. Myanmar Action Group Denmark
  136. Myanmar Campaign Network
  137. Myanmar Community Austria
  138. Myanmar Community Coffs Harbour (MCC)
  139. Myanmar Cultural Research Society
  140. Myanmar Democratic Force in Denmark
  141. Myanmar Labor Alliance (MLA)
  142. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
  143. Myanmar Professionals Association Australia (MPAA)
  144. Myaung Youth Network
  145. Myingyan Civillian Movement Committee
  146. Naphe Development Organization
  147. National Election Observation Committee (NEOC), Nepal
  148. Netherlands Myanmar Solidarity Platform
  149. Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma
  150. New Myanmar Foundation (NMF)
  151. NLD Solidarity Association (NSW chapter)
  152. NSW Karenni (Kayah) Communities
  153. Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica
  154. ODHIKAR, Bangladesh
  155. Olive Organization
  156. One Dollar for People of Burma
  157. Open Forum for Democracy Foundation (P-NET), Thailand
  158. Padauk
  159. Pale Township People’s Strike Steering Committee
  160. People Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Sri Lanka
  161. People Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), South Korea
  162. People’s Voter Education Network (JPPR), Indonesia
  163. Perkumpulan untuk Pemilu dan Demokrasi (PERLUDEM), Indonesia
  164. Progressive Voice
  165. Pwintphyu Development Organization (Magway Region)
  166. Pyi Gyi Tagon Strike Force
  167. Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women at Border Areas
  168. Save Myanmar San Francisco
  169. Save Myanmar USA
  170. SEA Junction
  171. Shan MATA
  172. Shwe Pan Kone People`s Strike Steering Committee
  173. Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFENet)
  174. Southern Dragon Myanmar
  175. Southern Youth Development Organization
  176. Suomi-Myanmar Association
  177. Support Group for Democracy in Myanmar (The Netherland)
  178. Sydney Friends For Myanmar
  179. Synergy – Social Harmony Organization
  180. Ta’ang Women’s Organization
  181. Tanintharyi MATA
  182. The Ladies
  183. Transparent Elections Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA)
  184. Twitter Team for Revolution (TTFR)
  185. S. Campaign for Burma
  186. University Students’ Unions Alumni Force
  187. We Pledge CDM (Australia)
  188. Wetlet Revolution Leading Committee
  189. White Coat Society Yangon (WCSY)
  190. Women Activists Myanmar
  191. Women Alliance Burma (WAB)
  192. Mandalay Women Strike
  193. Yangon Women Strike
  194. Monywa Women Strike
  195. Monywa-Amyint Road Women Strike
  196. Chindwin (West) Villages Women Strike
  197. Kalay Women Strike
  198. Depayin Women Strike
  199. Taze Women Strike
  200. Dawei (Ashaetaw) Women Strike
  201. Gangaw Women Strike
  202. hayat Chaung Women Strike
  203. Wetlet Township Women Strike
  204. Women Caucus for Politics, Timor-Leste
  205. Women’s League of Burma
  206. Yadanabon University Students’ Union (YDNBUSU)
  207. Yinmarpin and Salingyi All Villages Strike Committee
  208. Zomi Association Australia Inc.
  209. ဒို့မြေကွန်ရက် – LIOH
  210. နဂါးဖြူ (ထိုင်းနယ်စပ်)
  211. နွေဉီးမီးငှက် (ထိုင်းမြန်မာ နယ်စပ်)
  212. နွေဉီးအင်အား မိုးညိုမြို့နယ်
  213. ပွင့်ဖြူလယ်ယာမြေကွန်ရက်
  214. ဖင်လန်မြန်မာအသင်း (Finland Myanmar Society Ry)
  215. ဧရာဗေဒါ (ပြည်တွင်း)

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